Jess Lund has joined the team as an MSc student at the University of Cape Town. She is currently assisting with several projects in Zambia this wet season but will return to Cape Town soon to begin. Her project will focus on the coevolutionary consequences of host egg signatures in the fork-tailed drongo, and its specialist parasite, the African cuckoo. Jess’s previous research during her BSc(Hons) research at the University of Cape Town was on winter thermoregulation in African Pygmy Falcons in the Kalahari.
In a new paper published in Evolution, Dr Gabriel Jamie along with Silky Hamama, Collins Moya and Prof. Claire Spottiswoode from the African Cuckoos team and collaborators from University of Puerto Rico (Steven Van Belleghem), Princeton University (Dr Cassie Stoddard and Dr Ben Hogan) and University of Cambridge (Professor Rebecca Kilner) provide evidence of host-specific mimicry in the indigobirds and whydahs of Africa. Building on the pioneering work of Robert Payne and Jürgen Nicolai, they provide quantitative evidence that nestling Vidua finches mimic the patterns, colours and begging calls of their host’s nestling, and qualitative evidence of mimicry of host movements.